Jeweler's sidewalk advertising seen as 'defacing public property'

SEATTLE - They're hard to ignore, bright pink spray painted logos seen on sidewalks throughout the city touting the opening of a new jewelry store at Westlake Center. If this marketing campaign sounds familiar, that's because it is; just ask the Seattle hotel that tried the same thing and quickly learned it's illegal.

Pandora, owned by Ben Bridge, opened two weeks ago, and since then numerous chalk painted signs for the jewelry store started showing up on sidewalks in Queen Anne and Belltown. Within a block of the Space Needle, the pink logo can be seen at each corner of the intersection along Broad Street.

"A marketing agency came to the company with the idea, and we said that's really fun," said Marc Bridge, vice president of marketing for Ben Bridge Jeweler, Inc. "We were excited to try something fun to launch the new store."

Last October, a similar ad campaign by Hotel 5 quickly backfired once the city got wind of the spray-painted sidewalks.

Rick Sheridan, spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation, told KOMO News using city sidewalks for advertising and/or marketing is illegal and is seen as defacing public property.

"If we find that sidewalks have been defaced, we will work with the business involved to address the issue," Sheridan said.

Sheridan said typically the business or company will voluntarily remove the sidewalk markings without facing a fine.

That's what Hotel 5 ended up doing, washing off the logos after getting some unwanted publicity.

Bridge says the jewelry company was not aware it violated city code.

"You learn some things you maybe need to apply a little more scrutiny to," Bridge said.

He said some of the logos may already be gone, and since the chalk is not permanent the ones that are still visible should just disappear over time.